Lady Slipper Orchid: At Risk

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Lady Slipper Orchid: At Risk

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Today we feature another ‘At Risk’ plant: Lady Slipper Orchid. This plant is sponsored by Sage Mountain. Some interesting and important information via United Plant Savers:

“A single lady’s slipper seedpod will contain between ten and twenty thousand minute seeds that have been likened to a “mote of dust on the wind.” Adapted for wind dispersal, they are remarkably light, and unlike most other seeds, they do not contain their own endosperm or food reserve. Thus, in order to survive, the seedling must find a dependable source of nourishment during this fragile stage of development. This is where magic and science merge. An odd symbiotic relationship between the lady’s slipper and potentially lethal (to plants, anyway) pathogenic fungi has developed over eons of time In order for the seed to survive, it forms a small corm that waits in dormancy until “invaded” by certain symbiotic soil fungi. The lady’s slipper seed may lie in waiting for several years before the right mycorrhiza comes along. Once penetrated the seedlings feed on this soil fungus called orchid mycorrbizae (myco means “fungus” and rhiza, “root”), digesting it to obtain the nourishment needed for growth. More than six species of Rhizoctonia, or soil fungus, necessary to the growth of lady’s slippers have been identified thus far.”

UpS Recommendations

“No wild harvest is permissible. Use only cultivated resources. Cultivated valerian, cultivated California poppy, and cultivated passion flower are good substitutes. Another alternative is lemon balm for its antispasmodic and nervine properties, as well as skullcap, which has antispasmodic, nervine, sedative, and anodyne actions.”

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Comments (8)

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  1. patweber says:

    Does this happen because of the many pesticides we put in our soils? I don't know if I have ever seen this flower in our local area. Thanks for keeping us updated Cheryl.

  2. Imagine that you actually have orchids in the US. As far as I know, the only orchids we have in Scandinavia are the ones we buy in shops:-)

  3. We have beautiful yellow lady slippers growing wild here in Manitoba. To no surprise, they are becoming increasingly rare. Thx for sharing this info, Cheryl. With all the changes happening to our environment, I can't imagine what the world will look like in 50 years.

  4. JeriWB says:

    I see the occasional lady slipper here and there in northwest Montana. My aunt really looks forward to spotting them when they grow in the usual spots on her property year after year.

  5. jacquiegum says:

    I had beautiful Lady Slippers in Wisconsin. I used to tell the kids that it was illegal for them to cut them or disturb them in any way! laugh! Really…I told them they could go to jail:) They are among my very favorites….so delicate and beautiful and rare. I only had a few and they came and went years apart….never knew where they came from or why they grew in area where I had wild flowers growing near a natural spring.

  6. A.k.Andrew says:

    I love orchids & we have a few indoor ones but I’ve never seen one growing outside. It must be a rate treat.

  7. Susan Cooper says:

    I buy these quite often at Lowes. They are lovely. I've never seen them elsewhere either.

  8. It always amazes me to see how interconnected life is. Everything has a purpose.